What are East End governments doing, anyway? August 23 edition

East Hampton is debating what to do about its closed scavenger waste plant, which had collected waste from cesspool companies.
East Hampton is debating what to do about older septic systems, and what to do with its closed scavenger waste plant, which had collected waste from cesspool companies.

Most East End governments are getting into the vacation spirit of the third week in August by doing precious little this week. East Hampton, however, is knee-deep in poop.

East Hampton Town

East Hampton will hold a Comprehensive Wastewater Plan kickoff meeting next Monday, Aug. 26, at 1 p.m. at Town Hall, and town board member Theresa Quigley is hoping both pro-poop and anti-poop people will show up.

The firm Lombardo Associates was contracted by East Hampton in June to perform a $200,000 study of well water, its scavenger waste treatment facility and water quality issues in town.

Ms. Quigley said at a work session Tuesday that she is very upset that Pio Lombardo of Lombardo Associates, who is doing the work, sent an email invitation to environmental groups but not to people in the waste treatment business. She said she’s also concerned that Mr. Lombardo’s company makes one of only two high-tech small scale sewage treatment systems approved by Suffolk County.

“It’s a critical issue because it’s looking at every single individual septic system that each of us owns,” she said of the water plan. “It will impact every single resident of this town…. There’s a potential people will have to put in the Nitrex system from Mr. Lombardo’s company. Nitrex one of two systems approved by Suffolk County….The new systems cost $30,000 to $40,000 per system per house. It has significant potential for impact on individuals in this town. We can’t have a committee of all pro-Nitrex people or anti-Nitrex people.”

Ms. Quigley said she thinks the list was sent to all people who were pro-Nitrex, then ran down the list of environmentalists who were copied on the email.

“I don’t see anybody in a scavenger waste business or in the engineering business,” she said.

Town Board member Peter Van Scoyoc said the town has not yet formed an advisory committee, and the people cc’d on the email were those who had expressed interest in waste management.

“I have absolutely no problem with this,” he said. “Do you have a problem with informing the public that we’re moving forward with this?”

“I don’t see this as the public being informed,” said Ms. Quigley. “Please come, everybody come, but why are we limiting invitations to only people….government people and special interest group people…where is Joe Public?”

Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said he wished the town had sent out the notice, not Mr. Lombardo.

“It is totally wrong for a consultant to send out the kick-off notice on this meeting,” he said.

Town Board member Sylvia Overby said a public announcement will be put in local newspapers this week and board member Dominick Stanzione said he doesn’t have a problem with the email and he hopes people come to the meeting to talk poop with the town.

Here’s a fascinating YouTube video of a portion board’s 2012 scavenger waste forum, to give you an idea of the type of discussion residents are in for:

More information on Mr. Lombardo’s Nitrex system, which is being heavily promoted by environmentalists due to the impact nitrogen is having on the Peconic Estuary, is available here.

UPDATE

After this article went to press, Mr. Lombardo contacted the Beacon to let us know that residents who are remotely interested in attending the meeting can attend the meeting remotely, so long as they have access to the town’s LTV television signal, a telephone or an email account. Residents whose heads are stuck in their cesspools, however, may not have access to such technology. More information is available here.

Other towns

Southold took the week off and Southampton is having a special meeting this afternoon to discuss Community Preservation Fund policy with State Senator Kenneth LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred Thiele. Riverhead continued its ongoing discussion on what to do with the empty Second Street firehouse building at a work session yesterday and Shelter Island’s town board talked about tick control (by means of deer control) at their work session Tuesday.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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